Julia Donaldson: Introduction (01:39)
Julia Donaldson is a prolific author of the popular children’s books “The Gruffalo” and “The Snail and the Whale.” Donaldson is exploring the British Library for six special, historical items.
Treasure One: Inspiration (05:07)
Traditional folk tales inspired many of Donaldson’s writings; particularly ones of Middle Eastern descent. Muhammad Isa Waley, Persian collections curator, shows Donaldson a book of folk tales compiled for an Indian Prince.
Treasure Two: Career (04:43)
Donaldson explores the history of the publication business as she surveys letters between famous British author E. Nesbit and her publisher.
Treasure Three: Path not Taken (07:28)
Donaldson considers writing aspirations she had at the age of 17; she preserved a notebook full of detailed notes on the British spy Catherine Howard. Nadine Akkerman presents Donaldson with secret letters Howard smuggled for Charles I.
Treasure Four: Childhood Memories (07:40)
Recordings of common sounds of the British countryside rekindles Donaldson’s childhood memories of the South Downs. Jonnie Robinson, accents and dialects curator, discusses the British Library’s extensive collection of recordings.
Treasure Five: Feedback (06:56)
Donaldson has been fascinated by Jane Austen’s novels, particularly “Emma,” for years. Sandra Tuppen, manuscripts curator, shares a review list written in Austen’s hand. Austen’s writing desk, inkwell, and three pairs of her spectacles are preserved at the British Library.
Treasure Six: Passion (06:27)
Botanist Trevor Dines takes Donaldson to a field where they search for the elusive early spider orchid. In the British Library, Donaldson surveys a first edition of “Gerard's Herbal” which was once a part of King George III’s personal collection.
Julia's Donation (02:50)
As a donation to the British Library’s department of recordings, Donaldson performs a recorded reading of her popular children’s book “The Gruffalo.”
Credits: Julia Donaldson (00:34)
Credits: Julia Donaldson
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